Tales about Aviation, Coaching, Farming, Software Development

Going all the way to the end of the road (1/2)

We didn’t find a solution to our access road problem when we followed the dirt road up the hill. But as we’ve come that far we wanted to know where that dirt road leads to. From our vantage point we could see that first it goes down into a valley - a river valley - and then comes up again. You can see in the picture that the road is crossing another ridge.

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If you look closer you will spot some structure, a house. Here is a zoomed picture:

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So somebody lives there. That’s worth a visit. So we should drive a bit further on the dirt road and maybe have a change to talk to the people who live there. Maybe it’s the family we saw during our first visit to the farm. Let’s see what else is there. A bit to the right we could spot grazing cattle. Here is another zoomed picture:

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We went down the road where we came to another river. This time it wasn’t that easy to cross. You will understand that I have no pictures, if you listen to my story.

We got down the road and around another corner there was the river. The road approaches the river in a 90 degrees angle so you can’t drive straigth into it. You have to make a left turn. But then this river was deeper than the two others we’ve crossed before. There were a few rocks a few meters upstream and the water goes over these rocks and constantly digs a whole after passing them. So it’s a bit deep there and that’s exactly where a 90 degrees left turn would have let us to.

It is hard to tell the depth of clear water. You can see the ground but as there is little reference you can easily be mistaken. The Jeep is lifted 3 inches and has 31 inch tires so there is good ground clearance. But it doesn’t have a winch installed. If something goes wrong we would be stuck in the water, maybe the motor would take water in and die. As a consequence we would have been forced to walk all the way back to Buenos Aires, cross the other two rivers either by wading through the water or use those suicide plank bridges. Walking all the way back would probably have taken us 2 or 3 hours especially for an untrained person like me. Or maybe it would have taken even 4 hours. All in all not a very good thought.

So we had to plot our course well. Although there were rocks in front of us the water a bit further ahead looked much shallower than where a left turn would lead us to. Driving over these little rocks seemed to be the better option. Gently I pushed the accelerator and all seemed to go very well - at first. Then we got stuck. All four wheels were spinning but we didn’t move forward. We were in the water and stuck on slippery rocks. Rocks in a river become round over time and they become a bit slimy. That’s why we got stuck but the question was how to get out of this. Now we were really thinking hard, as we didn’t want to leave the Jeep there in the water and walk all the way back to find help so we rescue it. So Luis got out and jumped into the water to see why we were stuck and what the options were.

There wasn’t anything blocking us. No rock in front of any wheel. Nothing the Jeep had to climp onto. If we were gaining traction again, it should be easy to get either back or to the other side. So I started to move the car back and forth a bit. After several attempts the tires gained traction, we advanced to the shallower part and got to the other side where the Jeep climbed easily out of the river and onto the dirt road leading up the hill to the house we spotted from the distance.

Unfortunately we found nobody at home. It was early afternoon and by that time the peon family living there was certainly somewhere working on some of the farms in the vicinity. We could have waited but then they might not come at all because they had something to do in the village or elsewhere. I took a picture of the river from their backyard. They do have a great view - don’t they?

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This was part 1 of 2 of this story. There will be part 2 of 2 soon. In part 2 I will tell where the dirt road ends.